Tuesday, 23 February 2010

How to transform the production of homeopathic remedies


McInley's Management Consultants

Efficiency Optimization Analysis for Acme Homeopathic Inc.

Management Summary

After a month's study of the manufacturing processes at Acme Homeopathic, we are delighted to be able to offer recommendations to transform cost effectiveness.

At the moment, each homeopathic remedy is produced by taking an extract of a substance, diluting it many times with complex and expensive agitation between each dilution, dripping the resultant liquid onto sugar pills which are then fed into appropriately labelled containers on a production line that has to be dedicated to a single remedy for hours at a time.

Our recommendation is to remove the entire initial part of the process. Simply put sugar pills into containers, to which a wide range of labels can then be attached. Costs will slashed at a stroke.

If we were to recommend this in a conventional pharmaceutical production environment, there would be serious consequences. Patients taking the drugs would not receive the expected benefits, and testing in the laboratory would show that the company was providing sugar pills instead of anything from aspirin to life-saving drugs. However, with the homepathic product there will be no difference in the expected benefit, and analysis would simply show what was expected - a sugar pill with no active ingredient.

In the unlikely event anyone bothered to check on the manufacturing process, Acme could claim a new, enhanced homeopathic remedy that is even more efficient than diluting to exhaustion, where the workers in the plant think of a particular substance (e.g. Arnica) while the pills are being bottled. As homeopathy teaches that the more dilute the product is, the stronger the effect, this would clearly result in the most effective possible homeopathic remedies.

If there is any problem getting staff to think of the right remedy at the right time, we suggest introducing a range of company songs, one based on each remedy, to be sung while the product is bottled.

We recommend introduction as soon as possible, as this enhancement will result in savings of millions of pounds and will not make the slightest difference to the product.

Please note, this is a fictional item for satirical purposes. I do not intend to suggest that any manufacturer of homeopathic remedies would take such actions, nor that any management consultancy would recommend them.

11 comments:

  1. Ha. I heard about this and was wondering what your response would be :-) Also wondering, though, what the Royal family will say. I've always understood that they are big believers of homeopathy and use that hospital's doctors quite a lot. I expect Prince Charles to be making a statement any minute now.

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  2. I was just wondering the other day whether you could get done for fraud if you actually did this. I suppose you could say, with perfect honesty, that you believed your remedies are as effective as traditional homeopathic ones. (I started to wonder about this after coming across http://www.fdhom.co.uk/ a while ago.)

    I once seriously thought about setting myself as an astrologer, just to get a bit of extra money, even though I didn't believe in it. However, I got worried I might get exposed as a "fraud", and the fact that you were even expected to get qualifications, so I I have to confess I didn't think about ethics, such as people relying on it.

    And I've often wondered whether there are "fake" kosher/halal foods.

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  3. Typo in my last comment - should have said:

    ...expected to get qualifications, so I abandoned it.

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  4. Sue - there has been a lot of comment in the news lately on homeopathy. This was actually more in response to the House of Commons Committee report that said the NHS should no longer support it, so not quite sure what the hospital story you have is.

    Anonymous - when I was at college I used to read palms and do Tarot with zero knowledge of the tradition, on the theory that I could make it up just as well as they could. My aim was not to make money but to interest members of the opposite sex. (Didn't work, but that's a different story.) If you set yourself up as astrologer, I can't see how you'd be any more a fraud than anyone else.

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  5. lol, that's a good one, but what if the workers' mind "wander" (page 3 poster, boring repetitive job...) Interesting side effects all round!

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  6. The mind truly boggles at what would be produced if the workforce read some red top newspapers.

    Interesting suggestion from local radio broacaster Mark O'Donnell - you could do away with the bottles and pills entirely and email the homepathic magic to people. Sounds lucrative.

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  7. Heh. I suppose, following the logic of an increase in power with increasing dilution, that you could ask the workers not to think about the active ingredient. Thereby increasing the magical potency further.

    But it's difficult not to think about stuff once the idea's out there. Just try not thinking about a polar bear, juggling, while balancing on a colourful beach ball.

    I'm sure the clever homeopaths will come up with some useful method to avoid this...

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  8. I love the idea of workers going around trying NOT to think of a particular remedy.

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  9. I think, following the logic of an increase in power with increasing dilution, that you could ask the workers not to think about the active ingredient.

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  10. I like the idea of challenging homeopathy by showing it to be absurd, pastafarian style.

    Perhaps one could make homeopathic strychnine suicide pills. Either you get prosecuted and the law is ridiculed or you don't in which case homeopathy is. Either way you win.

    Anyone up for this?

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  11. @david it is already available: http://www.helios.co.uk/cgi-bin/store.cgi?action=linkrem&sku=Stry

    It's very difficult to think of a remedy, no matter how absurd, which is not already in this list: http://www.helios.co.uk/cgi-bin/store.cgi?action=list_remedies


    Homeopathy is its own satire.

    But I would suggest a new delivery model:

    HomeopathyByAir.com: Pay online, and we spray your personalized remedy into the air. In a few days, depending on careful analysis of wind patterns[*], we send you an email, "Go outside and inhale. Be Well!".

    [*] Who are we kidding. Homeopathy needs no analysis or understanding of anything to work! We just wait a day or three, depending on your star sign. Or IP address. Or something.

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